Ken Burns' original nine-part documentary Baseball debuted in 1994, just as the strike had canceled the World Series and the future of the national pastime was in great doubt. Sixteen years later, Burns finished his update to the doc entitled The Tenth Inning, and it's finally premiering tonight on your local PBS station. Some pretty huge stories will be covered in this sequel-that's-not-a-sequel, including the Red Sox putting an end to nigh a century of misery, Mark McGwire's and Barry Bonds' pursuit of home run records and pharmaceuticals, and a movie about a dog that plays baseball.
But of course, there's a limit to how many stories Mr. Burns can cover in a few hours of panning photographs with twangy bluegrass music in the background. So many important and groundbreaking things have happened in the last sixteen years that it was inevitable that some stories would end up on the cutting room floor. Here then are the top ten events that Ken Burns (presumably) did not cover in The Tenth Inning:
10. In 2006, Albert Belle sentenced to 90 days in jail for stalking his ex-girlfriend by attaching a GPS tracking device to her car. Belle denies that he ever dated her and that she was, in fact, a hooker.
9. The Universal Pictures feature film Ed, which starred Matt LeBlanc as a talented pitcher and a chimp as a chimp, receives a whopping three nominations at the 1996 Razzie Awards including "Worst Screen Couple" for LeBlanc and his simian companion.
8. Intoxicated Chicago White Sox fan William Ligue and his white trash son jump out of the Comiskey Park stands in 2002 and pummel Royals first base coach Tom Gamboa, seemingly unprovoked.
7. Cubs slugger Sammy Sosa suffers a severe back injury in May 2004 when, while relaxing on a barcalounger in the visitors clubhouse at Petco Park, he sneezes violently and causes back spasms. He'll be placed on the DL and never regain his sweet swing or his natural skin color.
6. In 2007, this happened:
5. Former relief pitcher John Rocker walks off the set of ESPN's terrible morning show "Cold Pizza" when informed that they would ask him about his infamous January 2000 racist/sexist/homophobic comments to a Sports Illustrated reporter. Later that day, he strikes out Will Leitch in Bryant Park.
4. Walkoff Walk's very own Kris Liakos challenges Jose Canseco to a fight in May 2008. Later, Liakos challenges John Lackey, Chris Volstad, Gaby Sanchez, and Jeffrey Loria to a thirties-style boxing match.
3. Randy Johnson strikes a blow for ornithophobiacs everywhere in a 2001 spring training game when he does this:
2. In a move totally not related to nepotism in any way at all possibly in 1996, a 27-year-old Joe Buck is named as the lead play-by-play voice for Major League Baseball games on the FOX television network. He'll call World Series games, All Star games, Mark McGwire's record-breaking game, and, in 2008, admit that he doesn't enjoy baseball anymore. Nonetheless, Joe Buck, with his dry wit and shitty attitude, remains the lead play-by-play guy for MLB on FOX.
And the most important baseball story of the past sixteen years that will not be featured in Ken Burns' "The Tenth Inning" documentary, premiering tonight on your local PBS station:
1. Rinku and Dinesh's baseball yatra becomes a great success when they are signed by the Pittsburgh Pirates in November of 2008. They'll later be interviewed by Kris Liakos, get into a tussle with Topps, and have their story turned into a major motion picture starring Sly Stallone and Tom Cruise. GAZAB!